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Colombia's Children: So Much Love to Share
Kidsave's Weekend Miracle program gives volunteer host families to older kids stuck in the US foster care system. Through weekends spent together, hosts get to know the kids, support them in their lives and introduce them to their networks. The goal for every child is a lifelong, connected, caring relationship with at least one safe, stable adult. This manifests as adoptions, guardianships, and a long-term mentoring relationships.
Hosting also is a great way to get to know older kids who have been in foster care for a long time and are in need of a family. Currently Los Angeles County operates one of the only hosting programs in the USA, Kidsave Weekend Miracles. Kidsave’s weekend hosts make a one-year commitment to have the child in their homes at least two weekends a month. Monthly community events are held to introduce the kids to people interested in adoption and hosting. In the event that a child isn’t ready for adoption, mentors are recruited, or the hosts continues sticking by the child so they have a long-term relationship.
Kidsave and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) work together to find permanent homes for older children in the County foster care system. Their partnership program, Kidsave Los Angeles Weekend Miracles, provides children who have a plan for adoption with the opportunity to spend weekends with host families who help advocate for their adoption.
The goal is to introduce children to families who might be interested in adopting them, and to find each child an adoptive family or a connected relationship with at least one adult.
Despite considerable efforts, there are children in foster care for whom no adoptive family can be found, and as children get older they are harder to place. Of the over 500 LA County children currently waiting for adoptive homes, the majority are older African American and Latino children. Nationally and locally, African American children are over-represented in the foster care population. Children from the Latino community are now the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the County’s foster care system.
The lack of a permanent home places a significant toll on children. Children in foster care are more likely to have delays in growth, learning disabilities, and psychological problems. Many do not graduate from high school, end up on welfare or become homeless.
Kidsave’s Los Angeles Weekend Miracles program finds permanent families for older children, ages 9-17, in County foster care through weekend visits with host families, advocacy and outreach. The program provides a unique opportunity for caring adults to get to know children who need families. Through Weekend Miracles foster youth are placed with volunteer host families on weekends, so that potential families have the opportunity to get acquainted with the children. This contact allows for bonds to be created naturally — without the pressure of having to commit to adopt before becoming acquainted. To date, Weekend Miracles has served 165 older foster youth in LA County; and nearly 75% of continuing participants now have a permanent family, or a connection to a caring adult.
Based on the success of Weekend Miracles, LA County has changed how it recruits families for older children.
Read Kidsave Weekend Miracle success stories here!
Children cannot raise themselves. Without families, being shuffled from one foster home to another the odds are significantly against them growing into productive citizens – and the loss to society is devastating.
Many children without parents don’t finish high school, they end up homeless and in our prisons.
33% had couch surfed or were homeless
33% were pregnant before age 18 and 80% had reported they had ever been pregnant.
46% were unemployed but most had some work experience.
66% of males and 33% females reported at least one night in jail.
66% females and 42% males have been on food assistance.
They are also prime candidates for trafficking, prostitution, terrorists and in other countries becoming child soldiers.
Through weekend visits with host families people have a chance to get to know the children and introduce them to friends, family and associates. Our goal is to connect children in foster care with caring adults, ideally through adoption or as mentors.
Do you want to start a hosting program in your own community? Are you interested in becoming involved in this incredible hosting opportunity? Do you want to volunteer with Kidsave? Contact Weekend Miracles to have all your questions answered!
To view RainbowKids profiles of children available for adoption from the US please click on the image below:
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